Thursday, 8 December 2011

The art of having a Tiger Mother

This is about an article I read today in the Times, and which really made me think that mothers everywhere are not so different after all. It considered the Chinese way of raising children, based on the concept of a Tiger Mum and a Wolf Dad, who tend to punish their children for achievements which are anything less than perfect; the article cites the example of Amy Chua (who published a book on the matter by the way), whose daughter got an A-minus in maths, she won second prize in a regional history competition and she passed her piano exam with distinction. Ms Chua, being the Tiger Mother, demanded to know why she didn’t get an A in maths, berated her for disgracing the family by not coming top in the history contest and threatened to burn her toys if she doesn’t do two hours of piano practice, adding that there will be no sleepover with her friends today, or indeed ever.

But of course, little did the Chinese mothers know, since recently, a couple of young schoolgirls published a book of advice and tips on how to deal with a tyrannical mother. The Complete Book of Combat With Mum, includes tricks ranging from crying and burying your head in your mother's chest, to threatening to leave home, or for the less dramatic but more courageous, start singing in the middle of a punishment. As expected, the book became an immediate hit, being forwarded tens of thousands of times in the Chinese equivalent of Twitter (at this point I should point out that it was initially uploaded by the girls' father who evidently took a more humorous approach to the matter).

Amy Chua with her daughters Louisa and Sophia

However, given that there are Western mothers dangerously resembling the Chinese Tiger Mother, is it really a matter of culture and government propaganda? Or are the children virtually reduced to tools for personal glory?


  1. I read about this. I wish someone would do a study on it. Just follow the children as they become adults to see how truly happy they are. I'm not a parent, but I personally feel berating a child for an A- is way too harsh. There has to be some type of negative impact because of it. I do believe in discipline, but this is too much for me.

  2. I didn't want to read the tiger mom book because I was raised up by one of them. That's why I am trying to behave differently with my son, and i am truly glad to her about the counterbalancing book!

  3. I suppose this approach teaches self-discipline (which is vital in life if one wants to succeed), but then again it's quite risky, considering that the possibility of creating psychological problems to your child instead is quite high, which definitely defeats the purpose!



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